So, what is the Six Nations?
It’s an international rugby tournament where Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy play off against one another. Think of it like a mini world cup where Europe just forgot to invite anyone from the southern hemisphere, probably because they’d just beat us all mercilessly. It’s especially interesting this time around because the Rugby World Cup is later this year and coaches will be using the Six Nations to try out new line-ups – mostly by sending younger players to get pulverised.
But isn’t rugby really complicated?
Sort of … The basics? – Everyone has to pass backwards, unlike that American football nonsense where they even have to wear body armour. Teams can score in two ways.
1 – By hurling themselves over the opposition’s try-line with the ball, demonstrating a reckless disregard for the bodily integrity of everyone in a 5m radius.
2 – By kicking it through the opposition’s goal.
You’ll pick the rest up as you go.
But isn’t Rugby really boring?
Hell no. The Six Nations is highly competitive and there is no clear favourite this year. Besides, even the dullest rugby games are punctuated by gratuitous amounts of violence. Who cares if the game ends in a 0–0 draw when there are guys getting dump tackled left, right and centre. Don’t know what a dump tackle is? Well, it’s time you found out. Brace yourself, it’s gnarly.
Are Scotland going to win?
Probably not. We haven’t won the Six Nations since 1990 but our team is the strongest it’s been for a good number of years now, down in no small part to the fact that exactly one half of the squad is made up of players currently playing outstanding club Rugby with the Glasgow Warriors. Who by the way are also really, really good … and offer very reasonable ticket prices for students.
Can Scotland win any silverware then?
Yes. The Calcutta Cup. That’s a trophy that goes to the winner of the Scotland v England match. The Cup actually predates the Six Nations itself, and was first played for waaaaaaay back in 1873. The original was badly damaged in 1988 when two players drunkenly decided to kick it all the way down Princess Street in Edinburgh so now we have to play the English for a convincing replica instead. For obvious reasons, expect a charged, aggressive game.
Who should I watch out for?
Tommy Seymour – A star winger for the Glasgow Warriors and (hopefully) soon to be a star winger for his country, this man only has two speeds: ‘really really fast’ and ‘damn! what was that?’
The Gray Brothers – Jonny and Richie Gray are two brothers who make up the core of the Scottish forwards (the guys who perpetrate most of the violence on the pitch) and whose joint presence on the team surely says something about the value of good genetics. They both stand other 6 feet 6 inches tall and have a combined weight of 250kg – that’s exactly the same as a fully grown brown bear. It’s absolutely not a coincidence.
Sean Lamont – The former poster boy of Scottish rugby, Lamont has seen a real return to form in recent seasons. When this powerhouse takes contact, somebody is going to lose ground and/or pick up a concussion. It’s unlikely to be him.